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Let’s follow up the myth on recommendations with a write-in question on the same topic.  It’s asked often enough to go into a FAQ:

Can I get a recommendation from someone who isn’t a member of LinkedIn?

The short answer is no – but you’ll want to read the rest of the answer to understand why that’s a good thing…

Bob’s friend Tom

Bob asks because he’s got a friend who would write a recommendation, but is not yet a user of LinkedIn.

That’s always a positive sign – knowing people that are happy to recommend you, so kudos to Bob.

A LinkedIn recommendation

Within the LinkedIn system, each recommendation comes from another user, and cannot be faked or edited by the recipient.

So any other user can check on the background of the recommender – by looking at their profile.

And if someone’s going to game the system, they’ve got to create a fake profile and then create the fake recommendation / endorsement.  Of course, the fake profile will look fake if it only has one connection, so they’ve really got to invest in the fake network of the fake profile. (But given some member’s enthusiasm for connecting to people they don’t know, perhaps that isn’t very hard…)

It certainly isn’t a fool proof system, but it is open, can be checked on, and has a high degree of credibility.

Importing recommendations

As a work around, a user could scan a document and attach that document to their LinkedIn profile with box.net or point to it with a web link.

I’m not a particular fan of this strategy – it’s much easier to fake a letter – you just type it up on your word processor, print it out, and scan it in!

That and it doesn’t flow with the methodology of LinkedIn.

My recommendation

My advice is to ask your friend Tom to join LinkedIn, connect, and give the recommendation there.

Tom then gets to see the benefits of LinkedIn directly, and you can also endorse him in return.

Clearly there are some people that will never use LinkedIn – and that’s ok too.  You just won’t have their recommendation to display;-)

Professional care

As I’ve written about before – some professions have to take care with their endorsements – so please make sure you know the rules for your industry.

And find ten minutes today to give a recommendation!

To your continued success,

steve

Steven Tylock
http://www.linkedinpersonaltrainer.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/stevetylock